At a very well attended Special General Meeting of the J/109 UK & Ireland Class association on 7th August in Cowes, a decision was taken to amend the class rules to make it easier for IRC focused boats to take part in class racing and for boats set up for class racing to be competitive under IRC. Since then, the committee has been working on bringing the rule into effect. This note aims to explain how yachts racing in one-design regattas can comply with the new rule, which is now available on the web site: J/109 UK&I Class Rules 2019
The meeting also resulted in a decision to implement a two year transitional period under which boats may compete side by side under either the existing rule or the new amended rule. The Committee were given the power to to carry the rule change into effect including any related tidying up required.
From 1st January 2021, the J/109 class rules will restrict the maximum size of headsail to an HLP of 4220mm. This is much less than the existing limit of 5880mm and effectively restricts the class to non-overlapping headsails. The rule will additionally permit the use of jib in-haulers and will permit owners to chose whether they will retain the furler and associated head foil or switch to a non-furling head foil system (such as Tuff Luff, Harken Carbo Foil or similar).
As a result of the agreement to run a transitional period from 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2020, an owner may chose to race in a one design regatta held during this period using either the configuration that will conform to the 2021 rule (the “Non-overlapping Configuration”) or the current configuration. This allows those owners who own No.1 and No.2 overlapping headsails with one or two seasons left in them, to continue using them for class racing over the next two seasons and to switch to the Non-overlapping Configuration as and when those sails need replacement. We have made a minor modification to the current configuration to recognise the need for owners to order and use new No.3 jibs during the transitional period which they will be able to continue to use as their heavy jib as and when they switch to the Non-overlapping Configuration.
This modification states that owners will be permitted to use, in combination with their Class No.1 and Class No.2 sails, a No. 3 Jib with up to four horizontal battens which does not need to be capable of being roller furled. If the owner so desires, this sail may be cut to be tacked at deck level and all three sails may be hoisted directly on a halyard with the top furler and bottom furler drum removed. The No.1 and No.2 jibs may be tacked on a strop to allow the tack to sit in the same position as it would have been if attached to the furling drum. We’ll refer to this as the “Overlapping Configuration”.
If an owner elects to race a particular regatta during the transitional period under the Overlapping Configuration, they may use their larger Class No.1 and Class No.2 genoas on the standard furling head foil (with top furler and lower furling drum removed if they choose), however they may not:
- a) switch to a non-furling head foil system, or
- b) have in-haulers fitted.
Upon consideration, the committee concluded that the combination of allowing larger overlapping headsails to be hoisted on a tuff luff (as opposed to on the standard furling head foil system with the option of removing the top furler and bottom furling drum) would result in too wide a range of boat speeds in a fleet of j/109s using different combinations of sail size and head foil during the transitional period.
We considered a number of other changes to the class rules, but concluded that the class as a whole must have the opportunity to debate these, so any further proposed amendments will be tabled for discussion and put to a vote at the next Annual General Meeting to be held at the J-Cup in July 2019 in Hamble. These will include:
- the flexibility for owners sailing in either configuration to chose whether to use hydraulic backstay adjustment as currently required or to switch to a rope cascade.
- clarification on the use of heavy weather sails when not clearly prescribed in the sailing instructions
- greater transparency on hull weight and the potential to impose a minimum hull weight for one-design class racing
The attached rule brings into effect the changes agreed at the Special General Meeting held in Cowes on 7th August 2018 and so will govern all class racing from 1st January 2019.
Thank you very much indeed to David McGough, Chris Burleigh and Owain Franks for all your work on this project and to those of you from both the U.K. and Irish fleets who took the time to make considered comments on our initial drafts, raising points which have helped us arrive at this final version.
We hope this note and attached rule clarifies our intentions.